The Åland Islands, Finland and European Security in the 21st Century

Abstract

Saila Heinikoski

This article will review the Åland Islands in the European and Finnish security context. The Åland Islands is a demilitarised, neutralised and autonomous province of Finland, and the aim of the article is to look at how the more than 160-year old demilitarisation regime relates to the current security context. The time period to be examined is limited to the 21st century, encompassing deeper security cooperation of the European Union and debates on Finnish foreign policy in the European context as a non-NATO country. A major theme of the discussion is to look at the militarisation trends in Europe and how that might affect Finland and the Åland Islands. The article also touches upon topical issues such as Brexit, advancement of European security cooperation and Finnish NATO debates. It examines the demands for change concerning the status of the Åland Islands as well as how security is approached from the Ålandic perspective. Moreover, the issue of what could happen if Finland would join the NATO is discussed. The article concludes that the status appears to have very stable role stipulated in international law, despite securitising and militarising trends in the surrounding region. Indeed, a multilateral solution such as demilitarisation serves as a contrast to the regionalisation operating on military logic.

About the Author
  Saila Heinikoski is working as a researcher in the project “Demilitarisation in an increasingly militarised world. International perspectives in a multilevel framework – The case of the Åland Islands” and will defend her doctoral dissertation in International Relations at the University of Turku in autumn 2017. Her previous work has focused on the European Union and its external policies, including the Common Security and Defence Policy as well as immigration and free movement policies.  Her research is widely interdisciplinary, stemming from her two Master’s degrees, one in Humanities and the other in Social Sciences (including International Relations, Philosophy and European Studies).
Table of Contents

1. ÅLAND IN INTERNATIONAL POLITICS IN THE 21ST CENTURY
2. THE CHANGING EUROPEAN SECURITY CONTEXT
2.1. Regional Interests to Militarise the EU
2.2. The EU’s New Security Structure
2.3. European Defence Agency and its Role
2.4. NATO and its Activities in Europe
2.5. European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargements
2.6. Brexit and its Impact on EU Security Policies and Åland
3. THE FINNISH SECURITY CONTEXT
3.1. Finland – National Interests to Militarise the EU
3.2. Political Perspectives to the Security Situation
3.3. Finland’s Security Paradox: Finland-Russia-NATO
4. ÅLAND IN THE NEW SECURITY SYSTEM
4.1. Ålandic Interests not to Militarise
4.2. Political Discussion on Demilitarisation in the 21st Century
4.3. Demands for Change
4.4. Åland and NATO
4.5. Strategy and Politics
4.6. NATO Members Include Demilitarised Areas
4.7. Åland’s Security from an Ålandic Perspective
5. CONCLUDING REMARKS

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